Always in their hearts. Khloé Kardashian‘s Christmas present for Vanessa Bryant and her family included a sentimental tribute to the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant, who died in a helicopter accident earlier this year.
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Vanessa, 38, gave her social media followers a close look at a massive gingerbread house sent over by the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star, 36, ahead of the holidays. “Khloé, thank you so much, it’s beautiful,” the former model said in an Instagram Story video on Tuesday, December 22, as she showed off the sweet treat. “I love it.”
On one side of the large candy-covered structure, Vanessa’s name was printed next to her three daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 4, and Capri, 17 months. The gingerbread house was adorned with a banner that read, “The Bryant Family,” above the door. The opposite side of the roof featured tags with Kobe and Gianna’s names on them, dusted with sugary snow.
In January, the former Los Angeles Lakers star was one of nine people who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Gianna, then 13, also didn’t survive the accident. Seven months after Kobe’s death, his wife of nearly 20 years penned a thoughtful tribute on what would have been his 42nd birthday.
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“To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi,” Vanessa wrote via Instagram in August. “I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way.”
The heartbreaking note continued: “I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare. I wish I could surprise our girls and welcome you and Gigi home to us. I’m mad I didn’t go first. I always wanted to go first so that I selfishly didn’t have to feel this heartache. You were supposed to miss me. Gigi was supposed to be here with her sisters. It should’ve been me.”
Vanessa and her daughters are preparing to mark the first holiday season spent without Kobe and Gianna. As the family continues to grieve, Vanessa faces a messy legal battle with her mother, Sofia Laine, who sued her for financial support earlier this month. Vanessa later denied her mother’s allegations of being the family’s “longtime personal assistant and nanny,” claiming in a statement to Us Weekly that Laine, 68, “has spiraled out of control” and is “continuing to try and find ways to extort a financial windfall from our family.”
In a lengthy letter, Laine addressed her daughter’s “hurtful” statement, adding that she was “disappointed” and “heartbroken” by the legal developments.
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“I hope that my daughter changes course and will do what is right and give me what was promised to me. I also hope that Vanessa will stop preventing me from seeing and spending time with my grandchildren,” Laine wrote. “She is using my grandchildren to punish me for exercising my rights. Although I had no choice [but] to sue Vanessa, after this is all said and done, hopefully we can go back to having an amicable mother-daughter relationship. In the end, the truth will prevail.”
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